Thursday 20 September 2012


Here's an example of what used to be an annual tradition: the appearance of adverts hawking the US Fall Saturday Morning schedules on the three US networks, published in US comic books.

For British readers, these were early indicators of what we *might* see on UK screens over the following few years. The BBC and ITV had strict limits on the amount of imported cartoons they could show so - if the shows crossed the Atlantic at all - it might be more than a year before they hit British screens.

At this time, the networks and Saturday mornings were still the main place to find kid-vid.  Cable was starting to make inroads but their children's offering was often limited or restarted to off-network reruns.    Weekday afternoons were generally given over to shows aimed at adults (soaps, audience shows and gameshows) although syndicators were starting to make inroads with off-network (and often toy-related) fare like HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, THE TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE and numerous wannabes.  

Someone slap me if I'm wrong but I don't think any of the traditional broadcast networks offer a kids schedule on Saturdays anymore. 24-7 (or thereabouts) cable has made it a redundant (and far less commercially viable) proposition. 

This particular ad is from Marvel comics dated December 1984.  Thanks to the three-months-ahead cover dates used on comics at the time, this would have gone on sale September/ October time... just in time for the start of the new season.  By the time sea freight copies reached British newsagents it probably WAS December!

NBC was the top-rated network in both primetime and Saturday morning at this point (thanks to the runaway success of - of all things - THE SMURFS) so the big spending network splashed out for the centre pages of Marvel's December editions.  This originally appeared as a double-page spread but my scanner isn't large enough so I've chopped it into two single pages.


  1. "Someone slap me if I'm wrong but I don't think any of the traditional broadcast networks offer a kids schedule on Saturdays anymore."

    - For the UK? Channel 5 currently has a children's Saturday morning of cartoons and live action adventure shows, including Batman: Brave and the Bold. The line-up is pretty much mirrored on Sunday, but with new episodes of the shows.

    1. Hey there!

      Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear: I was thinking about the US networks and their Saturday morning offerings.

      But good news about CHANNEL FIVE. They are apparently on the verge of renewing their broadcast license on the same terms as the current one. That means kids TV (the provision of which is part of the Public Service terms of the license) should continue.

      BTW: does C5 ever rerun HARRY AND COSH? I used to love that show!

    2. I haven't come across "Harry & Cosh" in a while... but I can't say for sure. I much preferred its predecessor - Sister Said. Genius!

    3. I've never even HEARD of that one! Was it the same cast? I noticed a lot of them seemed to be in CAVEGIRL on CBBC which, I've always assumed, came from the same producers or production company.

  2. Sister Said was kind of "the Spice Girls* by way of the Goodies", the story of a girl band with odd sketches within the main narrative. Harry & Cosh first appeared in those sketches each episode before graduating to their own show.
    (* You can probably guess it started showing around 1998)

    Sister Said and Harry & Cosh came from writer/producer/director Daniel Peacock's production company Two Hats, as did Cavegirl. I don't think I ever saw Cavegirl though other than the promos.

  3. Wow! I knew none of this! Thans for sharing!

    Thanks to the randomness of Channel Five's analogue distribution, I was only able to see the channel when I moved to London. Suddenly I have a fifth viewing option which seemed amazing in those (at least for me) pre-multichannel days. I think they ran H&C in a Saturday afternoon slot adjacent to POPULAR (a show I loved) and I discovered it by chance.


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